If I had complete control over the plant's appearance, what would be the best shape for it?
I need the plant to be able to float between the clouds. It doesn't have to spend its whole life cycle floating. But it should catch as much sunlight as possible. It should be able to get moisture from the air. A simple microscopic algae could probably get used to that kind of environment, but if that was the case, then we would already have green clouds. So I wanted to improve it.
At first I thought of an algae colony in a shape of a ball, but that would probably not get enough water, so then I thought about a hollow cactus filled with a lightweight gas. But that would probably not get much light.
Then I thought that I could have several smaller balls and a area between them as one big leaf. But the winds up there would probably mess with it too much.
Obviously all of these would need to be frost resistant.
I intend to use them as a minor nuisance during flying and landings on a desert planet, getting into engines and stuff.
The dead plants or probably ripe fruits would drop down and the desert creatures would feed on them. I like the idea of cactii randomly falling on someone. The colonisers should consider these things as annoying as mosquitoes or pigeons on our planet.
What would be the best shape for these algae/plants? And why?
Could plants or microorganisms produce a lightweight gas? This could be a byproduct of some sort of symbiont within the floating parts of the plant/algae.